As it was published on The Yucatan Times on Thursday, Oct 30th, 2014; a sacred tunnel was recently discovered underneath the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacán, in Estado de México, Central Mexico. (Read article)
Now we meet the people opening the way to Teotihuacán’s netherworld.
In order to recover 50,000 pieces from Quetzalcóatl Temple it has been necessary to remove 970 tons of earth. Twelve excavators work on the project.
Julio Alva Castro, 78, is a humble-looking man whose hands look tanned and rough due to his work. He says he is a descendant of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxóchitl, a Texcocan writer whose works returned to Mexico recently with the recovery of the Chimalpahin Codex.
Before working at the recent discovery inside the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Quetzalcóatl) in Teotihuacán, he assisted in the excavation of the Avenue of the Dead and recovered skeletal remains.
The project, led by archaeologist Sergio Gómez, includes twelve assistants that despite not having a profession have become experts in archaeological excavation through experience.
So far 970 tons of earth and stone with which Teotihuacán inhabitants sealed the tunnel 1,800 years ago have been removed. The tunnel, that seems to be a metaphor of the netherworld, measures around 120 meters (394 feet). Archaeologists have got as far as 103 meters (335 feet), recovering over 50,000 pieces in the process.
Julio Alva and Jorge Andrade are the older and more trusted workers. Since the project began, in 2009, they have sifted the soil to prevent archaeological material from being discarded.
“All the shells are put aside in pouches, there’s one for each thing: beads, shells, obsidian, bones,” Julio explained.
Andrade, who has also worked on other projects in the area, says that he is impressed by the pyrite, “small yellow pieces similar to gold”. According to archaeologists, Teotihuacán inhabitants could have sprinkled the mineral on the walls of the tunnel to make it look as if it was surrounded by stars.
“The elders sieve while they younger workers take the earth out of the tunnel,” archaeologist Jorge Zavala, in charge of the field work, said.
Another collaborator is Cándido García Cortés, 62. His job is to free, delimit and clean the objects with special brushes. “We get them ready for archaeologists to photograph or draw the pieces,” he explained.
“I feel fortunate for having the opportunity to work here … Almost everything I find catches my attention. For example, there are many nice necklace beads or pyrite spheres. That opportunity is more important than the risks, like landslides,” García added.
According to Sergio Gómez, the archaeologist that presented the results of the investigation last week, the tunnel was sealed twice.
“Between 200 and 250 AD they broke the walls and re-entered the tunnel probably to deposit something very important,” Gómez explained.
He added that three chambers have been identified at the end of the tunnel.
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